3 Strategies for Developing Effective Training, Facilitation and Presentation Skills

3 Strategies for Developing Effective Training, Facilitation and Presentation Skills

To address the needs of adult learners, trainers, facilitators practitioners, presenters, and adult educators should continually strive for self-improvement and develop brain-based or creative approaches to workshop design and information delivery.  By doing this you can increase the possibility that learning and the transfer of knowledge will occur from the classroom to the workplace. 3 Strategies for Developing Effective Training, Facilitation and Presentation Skills by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author

Three Strategies for Developing Effective Training, Presentation and Facilitation Skills

Here are three strategies for building your training, facilitation, and presentation knowledge and skills: 

Continually upgrade your facilitation skills

Each person has a natural style based on personality and ability, so your style should be unique to you and come across to learners as natural and not staged or forced. The key is to use only those methods which feel natural and do not try to mimic others.

By watching other learning and performance professionals and presenters share information and teach skills, you can identify techniques that you might incorporate into your own training programs, learning events, or presentations.

You can also improve skills by periodically attending professional development or educational programs that focus on creative training and development or effective presentation techniques.

Video/Audio taping your facilitation of events

Successful professionals frequently record their information delivery and then objectively self-evaluate their technique. You can adopt this practice as well. Additionally, ask a trusted peer or advisor to provide feedback from an “audience” perspective on what you did well, what you could have done differently, and what you might do to improve in the future. By doing these things, you can make necessary changes in style, perfect positive qualities, and work to reduce negative ones.

Solicit feedback throughout your sessions, rather than at the end

Regularly ask for learner feedback and pass out evaluations during your sessions. Request objective feedback on your facilitation, training or presentation style, program format, and content from session participants and qualified peers and professionals.

3 Strategies for Developing Effective Training, Presentation and Facilitation Skills

Instead of doing as many trainers, facilitators, presenters and educators do and wait until the end of a session or series of programs to pass out an evaluation, consider giving them at the beginning of a session. Ask learners to jot down thoughts on what works and does not work throughout the session and at the end of the program have them mark the numeric rating scales on the forms. This approach more often results in objective feedback as people remember it and is likely to result in ideas and suggestions that will allow you to make appropriate changes before repeating the content for another group.

In addition to using a formal evaluation form, consider conducting mini interim reviews throughout your sessions. Make these reviews novel and fun and conduct them periodically during a program.

In addition to requesting feedback on what people have learned to that point in the session, ask what you might do differently or change to make the content and delivery format more meaningful or valuable for participants.

Strategies for Developing Effective Training, Facilitation and Presentation Skills

The following is one example of an interim review:

  • Before leaving for a break, you might have participants jot down on a piece of paper one thing that they have learned to that point in the session. They then flip the paper over and write one thing they would change in the delivery format if they were facilitating the session.
  • Have them leave the papers in a pile in the center of their table.
  • While they are out of the room, collect and read the comments.
  • Make necessary adjustments to your content and delivery as you move forward in the session.

Doing this type of review will let you know if learners are getting the key concepts you intended for them to gain and what you might change in the session to make it more effective as continue.

The value of this review approach is that you identify key information that you need to review or reinforce if numerous people seem to have missed it. You can also make the program more effective with changes so that the current group benefits from the modification. If you wait until an end of training session evaluation to gather needed changes, future groups might benefit from the suggestions, but the current group will be gone and will not gain maximum value.

Like other life skills, training, facilitating, and presenting are learned and perfected with much practice and effort. By regularly using your knowledge and skills and then soliciting and acting on valid performance feedback, you are likely to improve.

For more ideas on typing brain-based learning strategies into your learning events, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

Learner engagement is a basic tenet of adult learning that is supported by brain-based learning research. By encouraging participant involvement in a training or educational setting, you increase the potential that learning will occur and that they might actually use what they experience later.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

You can encourage maximum involvement of your training participants or learners by creatively grouping them and then asking for volunteers to take on the roles of scribes (note-takers) and group or team leaders during small group training activities or discussions. This strategy also provides an opportunity to recognize their initiative and reward volunteers with small incentive prizes (e.g. candy, toys, or other objects related to the program topic of the theme).

By providing extrinsic rewards and supporting positive behavior you can potentially encourage involvement by other learners in future group activities. However, like anything else, there is a potential downside in asking for volunteers. That is some people volunteer more than others because they are more extroverted or in order to receive prizes. The key is to integrate rewards appropriately and not make it into a competition to see who can get the most.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

To avoid a small number of participants from dominating and volunteering continuously, consider a fun, random system for selection. Just be conscious of the method you use for volunteer selection. Avoid using physical characteristics like body size, gender, hair or eye color, or other such factors since these could be perceived as discrimination or at least omission or favoritism by some participants as criteria for selection.

One goal of selecting volunteers is to engage as many different learners as possible. This helps everyone take ownership of the session content and disseminates rewards over a larger portion of the participant population.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

Think creatively and use a variety of techniques for selecting your volunteers rather than sticking with old standby formats like “count off from 1-5” or similar boring strategies. Some potential techniques for random designation are to assign participants based on the following. Be prepared to use several techniques in the event of ties.

  • Person whose birthday is closest to but not past the date of the session being held.
  • Person with the most (whatever) (e.g. color blue, jewelry, metal) on their body.
  • Person whose has been with their organization the longest/shortest period of time.
  • Person who has most/least siblings.
  • Person who traveled farthest/least distance to get to the session.
  • Person with the most/fewest number of pets.
  • Person with decorative metal on their shoes.
  • Person who arrived home earliest on their last day at work.
  • Person who participated in an athletic event over the past weekend.
  • Person with the most/least change in their pocket or purse.
  • Person who has had the most cups of coffee or tea, sodas, or glasses of juice/water since arriving at the session.
  • Person with the most/least letters in their first/last name.
  • Person born in the city/state/country in which the session is being conducted.
  • Person who has attended another professional development event (e.g. presentation, workshop, webinar, college class, or podcast) on-site or online within the past six weeks.
  • Placing props randomly at some participant locations prior to the start of the program (e.g. toy police officers badge, gavel, or another symbol of authority.
  • Placing a special colored item related to the program topic, that is different from those of other participants (e.g. themed shape eraser; small animal or cartoon character).
  • Placing colored dots or special stickers (e.g. colored smiley face stickers) randomly on nametags or name tents prior to a session start.
  • Rolling a foam die or color cube at each table.

Creatively Selecting Small Group Leaders in Training

No matter what approach you take to getting people involved in the learning process, the key is to make it quick, fun, and related to your program topic. Engage your learners mentally and physically throughout your sessions and you will potentially be rewarded with higher levels of attention, learning, and satisfaction.

For additional creative ideas and brain-based learning strategies, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage Learners, Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results, and Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners.

6 Essential Flip Chart Presentation Tips

6 Essential Flip Chart Presentation Tips

Flip charts, sometimes referred to as newsprint because of the type of paper used, have been around training rooms for decades. They are a handy, versatile tool available to trainers, facilitators, and anyone else who needs a visual writing surface for ideas or information. They are great for quickly capturing participant comments, for creating prepared information and graphics and for displaying material for reference later in a session.

6 Essential Flip Chart Presentation Tips

One of the greatest aspects of a flip chart is its simplicity of use. Anyone can use them to write or draw in a session. Even so, you should take the time to plan their usage and practice your technique so that what ends up being displayed is perceived as valuable by participants.

6 Essential Flip Chart Presentation Tips by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

Learning basic flip chart presentation techniques and using flip charts effectively adds another dimension to your professional abilities. They can be used in ways that are only limited by your creativity and ability.

When designing flip chart pages for use in your sessions, consider the flip chart presentation tips included in this articles and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are they clear (meaning)?
  • Are they concise (well written)?
  • Are they simple (creative without detracting)?
  • Are they graphic (right colors and clip art used)?
  • Do they add value (will they aid learning)?
  • Are they necessary (can points be made in other ways)?

General Tips for Use

Flipcharts are inexpensive, yet effective training aids for small groups of up to twenty-five participants (depending on room configuration). They provide an easy way to capture key thoughts or to highlight information in small group settings.6 Essential Flip Chart Presentation Tips

6 Essential Flip Chart Presentation Tips:

  • Make sure the flip chart easel is locked into position and balanced.
  • Place the easel so that ceiling lighting shines onto the front of the page and does not come from behind where it can cast a shadow and make viewing difficult.
  • Don’t write on the flipchart and talk at the same time. Write first; then face learners and talk.
  • Stand to the right side of the easel as you face your audience if you’re right-handed; stand to the left side, if left-handed. This allows you to face your participants and easily turn to capture key discussion points on paper with your writing hand while turning pages with your free hand.
  • Don’t block your participants’ view when pointing to pre-printed information on the flipchart.
  • When not writing, PUT THE FLIP CHART MARKER DOWN!!! Playing with it or using as a pointer can be distracting and communicate nervousness.

Download this complete article PDF file here:   Flip Chart Presentation Tips

Want more flip chart presentation ideas, click here.

 

Brain-Based Learning Strategies

brain based learning strategies
Robert (Bob) W. Lucas, Author, Facilitator, and Performance consultant

Brain-Based Learning Strategies

In 2013 in June, Robert (Bob) W. Lucas hosted two events for the Metro DC ASTD Chapter in Washington, DC (Tapping the Brain for Learning and Brain-Based Learning Strategies).

The sessions focused on how the brain learns and some of the research that has been done related to applying color, sound, motion, novelty, learner engagement and other strategies to enhance learning environments and potentially increase opportunities for learners to gain, retain, recall and use what they learn.

On the 26th, he provided insights at the chapter’s dinner meeting in a session titled: Tapping the Brain for Learning.  This session explored many ideas, brain-based concepts, and techniques that can be used to enhance virtually any training program or presentation topic.

At the end of the session, and when applying concepts learned, participants were able to:

a.  Facilitate creative training programs and presentations that can help induce behavior change and are FUN.

b.  Identify, make, or obtain inexpensive materials that add spark to training programs and presentations.

c.  Increase interaction with participants.

d.  Review program concepts throughout your sessions in order to get an interim check of learning before the program ends.

e.  Create memorable techniques for adding excitement and sizzle to programs so that participants keep coming back.

Brain-Based Learning Strategies Training – Past Success by Robert W. Lucas

On June 27th, Bob facilitated a one-day workshop titled: Strategies to Make Your Learning Events Sizzle. In this event, participants experienced dozens of creative training techniques based on brain research related to how the brain best learns and retains information. These strategies presented that day were meant to be immediately applied in their own learning events. They covered many training workshop essentials for typing in research to learning.

Bob went on to expand upon some of the ideas addressed in the previous night’s program. Therefore, the additional information through a variety of experiential opportunities in which participants hear about a concept, see it demonstrated and then have an opportunity to try or discuss it. They did also discuss how they might use the strategies to strengthen their own learning events.

At the end of the program, participants were able to:

  • Create training environments that stimulate learning.
  • Incorporate the latest learning brain research into their training design and delivery.
  • Design learning events that result in higher levels of attention and retention.
  • Use techniques and strategies experienced in their own learning events.
  • Add pizzazz and novelty to their learning events.
  • Immediately apply what they learned.

Creative Brain-Based Training Review Activities

Creative Brain-Based Training Review Activities

Training review activities are essential for learning to occur. By experiencing information multiple times through multiple senses, the brain is more likely to retain it and create memories. This is because engaging learners is a crucial component of the adult learning process and ties to brain-based learning research. If possible, this engagement must start as learners enter the classroom or before so that they become an active participant rather than a passive bystander. This is one of the basic elements of adult and brain-based learning.

Creative Brain-Based Training Review Activities by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Brain-Based Training Author

People must be involved in the learning process in order to gain, retain, recall, and use what they experience. Unlike children, who often have little intrinsic motivation to be in the classroom and little previous knowledge or experience from which they can extract meaning and assimilate new information, adults typically want to be present and learn. They often seek new knowledge and skills that they can immediately apply on the job or in their life.

Brain research on learning indicates that long-term memories are formed when multiple senses capture sensory data and the brain assimilates the new information or matches it with existing knowledge. To help accomplish this when you are training adults look for ways to tap into various sensory channels by designing and developing creative learning environments that contain elements such as, color, sound, images, motion, smells, novelty, movement, and physical activity. Also learn to tap into the multiple intelligences that Howard Gardner identified in his research.

Additionally, you can encourage the retention of key concepts and information through the use of repetition. For example, consider building in some form of review activity every 15-20 minutes to hold attention and reinforce what has been shared. By using these interim reviews rather than waiting until the end of a session, you enhance the possibility that your learners will walk away with more useful knowledge and skills.

Some easy interim review activities include the following: Creative Brain-Based Training Review Activities

Plastic Egg review.

Create strips of paper with different key ideas or concepts covered in the session up to that point on each one. Next, place one strip inside small plastic eggs of various colors (the type used in children’s Easter baskets). When you are ready to review, pass around a basket or box with these in it and have volunteers take one egg. Once all eggs are distributed, ask for volunteers to stand, open their egg, and read what is on their strip of paper.

Ask for anyone else in the room to define or explain the idea or concept. Reward the volunteer who answers correctly, and then repeat the process until all eggs have been opened. A variation of this is to use various colored balloons placed on the wall before the session and have them retrieved and popped by volunteers for the review.

This type of training review activity involves brain-based learning concepts of fun, novelty, repetition (review), color, sound (if using balloons) movement and learner engagement addressed in books like The Creative Training Idea Book.

How I’ll Use It.

When ready to review training session content, have learners turn to another participant and share one key concept learned thus far and how they plan to use it.

Creative Brain-based Training Review Activities

What If?

Depending on the session topic, use a What if? activity in which, at some point, you have each person take out a piece of paper and write “What If?” at the top of the page. Next have finished the statement with some key ideas or concepts learned in the session that they could immediately apply to their job or life.

Share the Knowledge.

In this review activity you have a volunteer team leader start by writing one key idea or concept learned up until that point in the session, then passing the paper to their left. Subsequent learners repeat the process until everyone has contributed something. Let them know before starting that it is okay to cheat and look at their notes if they cannot think of something to add. After everyone has written something have the leader lead a discussion on which item the group believes to me most significant and discuss why they believe this to be true. Allow 5 minutes for this process, then, have each team leader share the item their team selected with the rest of the groups. Reward team leaders with a small prize or piece of candy.

Summary:

As you just read, training does not have to be boring or tedious. Think of ways to make your learning events come alive and engage your learners while reinforcing ideas and concepts. Make sure that you build in time for training review activities to reinforce session content. This will help your learners retain what they experienced and facilitate the potential that they will ultimately use their new knowledge and skills once they leave the classroom.

If you liked what you read, consider getting a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners and Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People for hundreds of other creative training techniques, ideas, and activities.

Using Flip Charts Effectively

Using Flip Charts Effectively

Flip charts have been around as a training aid for decades and continue to be a valuable resource for trainers, presenters, educators, facilitators, consultants, and anyone who leads a group meeting. 

Using Flip Charts Effectively

The key to maximizing the benefit of flip charts is to practice with them before a session or meeting and effectively use them during the event.

Using Flip Charts Effectively by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

The following are some basic flip chart strategies that can help make you look like a professional while making content visible to your attendees and learners.

  • Use large pointers made of wooden dowel rods with a black tip (available at craft, teacher, and home supply stores) or ones with plastic colored fingers attached. You can also use arrows cut out of posters or other heavy colored paper or other props.
  • If appropriate, tear-off sheets and tape them to walls for future referrals.
  • Put two-inch strips of masking tape on the side or rear of the easel for use in posting torn pages.
  • Consider putting tabs (e.g. a strip of tape attached to the back of the sheet, then folded forward attached to the front edge of the page) on pre-written pages to ease in topic identification. You can then number or label topics on the tabs for easy location when needed. The tabs allow you to quickly refer back to a page later in your presentation and to turn them. Another option is to use the clear colored stick-on strips produced by 3M. Reference the colors in your lesson plan or notes so that you can easily find the desired page.
  • Always have extra water-based flip chart markers and pads of paper available.
  • You may want to write comments or key ideas lightly in pencil in the upper corner of the pages. This allows you to unobtrusively refer to them, as you appear to be looking at the flipchart topics. Your participants will never know you “cheated” since they can’t see the remarks from a

Using Flip Charts Effectively by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas

A creative technique that has been used by experienced trainers and presenters is to use two flip charts in tandem (together) during a session. They either alternate prepared images between the two charts or they have prepared pages on one easel and use the second to capture participant comments or to add more information to a topic during the session.

If you plan to use two easels, I suggest numbering them (1 and 2) and indicating in your lesson plan or session notes which easel you will use to make a point. This can prevent embarrassing confusion during your presentation. The other key in using multiple charts is to PRACTICE with your easels before participants arrive. Additionally, I find it helpful to have the same colored markers on both easels. This prevents me from carrying a marker used to the other easel and leaving it, only to be without it when I return to the second easel later.

If you found the ideas in this article useful, consider buying The Big Book of Flip Charts that has hundreds of strategies and techniques for designing, producing, using, carrying, and storing flip charts. For a printable copy of these tips and others on effective flip charting, click here.

Get Learners Moving with Energizer Training Activities

Get Learners Moving with Energizer Training Activities

By getting your learners up and moving, you increase the blood flow carrying oxygen to their brains and help stimulate the brain neurons while helping make them more alert. That increases their opportunity to learn and retain what they experience through their senses.

Get Learners Moving with Energizer Training Activities by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

Here are some creative energizer training activities to engage you, learners.

Play a Clever Catch Icebreaker

Clever Catch Ice Breaker Ball
Clever Catch Ball Training activity

-This is an easy and effective movement-based activity that introduces participants and prompts them to give interesting information about themselves at the beginning of a session. For this exercise, you’ll need a Clever Catch Ball–a 24-inch inflatable ball that you can find on the Internet or at school supply stores. The balls are available already printed with questions for an array of topics, but you can also use a writeable one.

-Before the session, use wet-erase markers to write questions or other content-related information all over the ball. For example, to open an orientation, communication, or team-building session, you might write, “What makes you decide that something is important in your life?” or “If you knew that you could not fail, what would you do?”

-At the start of training, ask your learners to form a circle and then toss the ball to someone.

-The person who catches the ball gives his or her name and then answers the question that appears under his or her right thumb.

-After answering, the catcher tosses the ball across the circle to another person.

-Play continues until everyone has caught the ball and answered a question once.

Take a Pop-Up Survey

If you want to do a quick survey to determine your learners’ experience or other characteristics, ask learners to “pop up” (stand and then sit) when you ask something pertinent to them. For example, if you ask, “Who has delivered a training program to others?” anyone who has done so stands up, then sits down.

This type of training activity prompts quick physical movement while it gives you (and the other participants) information about the people in the class.

Make Some Noise

Get Learners Moving with Energizer Training Activities

Give each learner some sort of party-type noisemaker–a whistle, a clapper or clacker, a spinner, a cowbell, or whatever you wish.

When you shout out a term or phrase related to a key session topic, everyone who knows the definition jumps up and sounds their noisemakers.

You pick one of them to offer the definition or explain the concept, and everyone else
sits down. Give a small prize or candy for a correct answer.

Repeat the process until all terms have been defined.

Play Verbal Volleyball

To add sound, laughter, movement, and fun to any session, have learners review key concepts through a game of verbal volleyball.

To play it, have learners form pairs and line up facing one another.

When you shout, “Go!” pairs take turns shouting key ideas, concepts, or terms that they’ve learned in the session.

One person in a pair shouts an idea; then her or his partner does the same—or, if nothing comes immediately to mind, shouts “Pass!”

Partners continue this way until neither one can think of another concept.

Learning does not have to be boring. By adding elements such as a bit of novelty, fun, easy magic tricks, movement, and sound, you can enhance the learning environment while engaging learner brains and potentially increasing the opportunity for comprehension and application.

Five Phases of Adult Learning

Five Phases of Adult Learning

Five Phases of Adult Learning

For learning to truly occur in an adult learning environment, a phased process is often helpful. The process that follows moves through five stages or phases. In a brain-based learning environment, participants are alerted to the learning experience in which they are about to take part. They are then led along a pre-planned path for transferring knowledge, skills, or attitudes back to the workplace or other venue.

Five Phases of Adult Learning by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

Using elements of the adult learning theory popular since that phrase was coined by Malcolm Knowles decades ago, you can develop sound approaches for engaging learners and helping them better gain, retain, recall and use what they experience.

Phase 1 – Preparing Participants for Learning

In the first phase of the learning process, you must condition participants for learning. This is typically done through icebreakers or creative training activities tied to the behavioral learning objectives or session outcomes and the actual training program content. In this introductory phase you grab attention and provide a foundation of information and help focus learner’s brains onto the topic to be addressed. By doing so, you increase the likelihood that they will quickly recognize, absorb, and process new information or stimuli and assimilate it into what they already know. Further, by providing a verbal, visual, and kinesthetic push, then identifying how the new information connects to what they already know, you can assist in bridging with memories they possess.

Phase 2 – Create a Stimulating Learning Environment

The second phase of the learning process incorporates handouts, job aids, or other visual material to supplement verbal messages. Such materials allow participants to better access information based on their own learning style (visual, auditory, or kinesthetic). To support learning content and aid comprehension, you can use associated visual aids to make key points, reinforce concepts, or provide alternative methods of information delivery. For example, colorful posters, transparencies or computer-generated slides, or flip charted information helps paint a mental image of the content.

Phase 3 – Reinforcing Learning 

Once the information has been delivered to the brain via one or more of the elements in Phase 2, connections are started. As a facilitator, you can enhance these bonds by conducting interim reviews throughout a session. During such reinforcements, you help mold and stabilize the learning through repetition and by helping learners see relationships. Such activities aid in increasing the depth of learner understanding while helping prepare them for Phase 4.

Phase 4 – Content Memorization

It is during this fourth phase that neural connections are made in the brain to help ensure that a learner can subsequently access or recall information and concepts learned. You can increase the effectiveness of this phase by teaching and using a variety of mnemonic or memory techniques. These strategies help learners to later access the information acquired.

Phase 5 – Implementation of Learning

In the final phase of learning, knowledge, or skills gathered are recalled and put into practice. If a learner is not able to successfully perform tasks or regurgitate information learned, there was likely a breakdown in the learning process and further review may be required.

To test the success of this phase, have participants demonstrate knowledge or skills through tests, practical application, or by teaching others.

For ideas on how to effectively design and deliver training that aids learning and embraces adult and brain-based learning concepts, get a copy a Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing, and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results.

Tapping the Brain for Learning Video Added to YouTube

Bob Lucas
Robert (Bob) W. Lucas, Author, Training and Performance Consultant and Brain-Based Learning Facilitator

Tapping the Brain for Learning Video Added to YouTube

A three-part video that shares a presentation titled Tapping the Brain for Learning by internationally-known author and learning and performance consultant, Robert (Bob) W. Lucas, has been added to YouTube.

Tapping the Brain for Learning Video Added to YouTube by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

In it, Bob addresses topics covered in many of his books on how brain research related to learning can be applied in any adult classroom or training environment energize learners to enhance learning outcomes. To view these three video segments, click this link: Robert (Bob) W. Lucas on YouTube.

Learn This Blogger – Robert W. Lucas

Robert W. Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert. He specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. Furthermore, he has four decades of experience in human resources development, management, and customer service in a variety of organizational environments. Robert Lucas was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Robert W. Lucas has lived, traveled, and worked in 28 different countries and geographic areas. During the past 40 years, Bob has shared his knowledge with workplace professionals from hundreds of organizations, such as Webster University, AAA, Orange County Clerk of Courts, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Martin Marietta, all U.S. military branches, and Wachovia Bank. In addition, Bob has provided consulting and training services to numerous major organizations on a variety of workplace learning topics. To contact Bob visit his website at www.robertwlucas.com or his blog www.thecreativetrainer.com.

Engaging Adult Learners in the Classroom

Engaging Adult Learners in the Classroom

For learning to occur, engaging adult learners in the classroom is an important aspect of enhancing learning. By getting participants involved in the learning process, you increase the possibility that they assimilate knowledge and use what they learn.

Engagement must start as soon as learners enter the classroom, or before if possible so that they become active participants rather than passive bystanders. This is one of the basic elements of adult learning – people must be involved in the learning process in order to gain, retain, recall, and use what they experience.

Engaging Adult Learners

Unlike children, who often have little intrinsic motivation to be in the classroom and little previous knowledge or experience from which they can extract meaning and assimilate new information, adults typically want to be present and learn. They often seek new knowledge and skills that they can immediately apply on the job or in their life. This difference in learning style has been addressed by Malcolm Knowles and others who have focused on adult learning theory or andragogy and ways to involve adult learners.

Research indicates that long-term memories are formed when multiple senses capture sensory data and the brain assimilates the new information or matches it with existing knowledge. To help accomplish this when you are training adults look for ways to tap into various sensory channels through the use of environmental elements such as color, sound, images, motion, smells, novelty, movement, and physical activity.

Additionally, you can encourage the retention of key concepts and information through the use of repetition. For example, consider building in some form of review activity every 15-20 minutes to hold attention and reinforce what has been shared. By using these interim reviews rather than waiting until the end of a session, you enhance the possibility that your learners will walk away with more useful knowledge and skills.

Engaging Adult Learners in the Classroom by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

Some easy interim review formats include the following:

• Create strips of paper with different key ideas or concepts covered in the session up to that point on each one. Next, place one strip inside small plastic eggs of various colors (the type used in children’s Easter baskets). When you are ready to review, pass around a basket or box with these in it and have volunteers take one egg. Once all eggs are distributed, ask for volunteers to stand, open their egg, and read what is on their strip of paper.

Ask for anyone else in the room to define or explain the idea or concept. Reward the volunteer who answers correctly, then repeat the process until all eggs have been opened. A variation of this is to use various colored balloons placed on the wall before the session and have them retrieved and popped by volunteers for the review. This type of activity involves brain-based learning concepts of fun, novelty, repetition (review), color, sound (if using balloons) movement, and learner engagement.

• When ready to review, have learners turn to another participant and share one key concept learned thus far and how they plan to use it.

Engaging Adult Learners

• Depending on the session topic, use a What if? activity in which, at some point, you have each person take out a piece of paper and write “What If?” at the top of the page. Next have finished the statement with some key ideas or concepts learned in the session that they could immediately apply to their job or life.

• Use a Share the Knowledge review in which you have a volunteer team leader start a piece of paper around their table by first writing one key idea or concept learned up until that point in the session, then passing the paper to their left. Subsequent learners repeat the process until everyone has contributed something. Let them know before starting that it is okay to cheat and look at their notes if they cannot think of something to add.

After everyone has written something have the leader lead a discussion on which item the group believes to me most significant and discuss why they believe this to be true. Allow 5 minutes for this process, then have each team leader share the item their team selected with the rest of the groups. Reward team leaders with a small prize or piece of candy.

Training does not have to be boring or tedious. Think of ways to make your learning events come alive and engage your learners while reinforcing ideas and concepts.

To contact Bob visit his website at www.robertwlucas.com or his blog www.thecreativetrainer.com.